January 13, 2004

Windows 98 lifeline 'prompted by Linux threat'

The growing threat from Linux is responsible for Microsoft's last-minute decision to extend the life of Windows 98. Analysts say there has never been
a better time to try and negotiate a deal on the company's software.

Various research indicates that Windows 98 is still installed on about a quarter of all PCs, meaning that if Microsoft had stopped supporting the
operating system as planned, the next time that a security bug was discovered, millions of PCs would be left vulnerable and users would be left with
the option of either upgrading to a newer version of Windows, or looking for an alternative. Although many companies would upgrade because their
applications or hardware require Windows, a significant chunk would be free to consider alternatives, such as Linux.

Lars Ahlgren, a senior marketing manager at Microsoft, told ZDNet UK that although Microsoft has not made any money from Windows 98 for some time, the
company is keen to hold onto its customers and is hoping another couple of years getting used to the Windows look and feel will tie them in for life.
"The more they are used to working one way, the more [it is] likely they will want to continue working that way, so it plays to our advantage. If they
move to another operating system, they will need to rethink and relearn. For some people, that is painful. This is also why so many people are
resisting an upgrade from Windows 98," he said.

Link: news.zdnet.co.uk


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